Everything a Dog Blood Test Can Tell You About Fido’s Health

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vet doing dog blood test

How much do you know about lab tests for dogs and cats? Unless you’re a veterinarian or an animal health enthusiast, you may not know much. And that’s okay! Today, we’re giving you the rundown on getting Fido a dog blood test. It’s the most efficient way of keeping your dog’s health in tip-top shape. By knowing what’s going on with your pet, you can protect them and make them live healthily for a long, long time.

Blood Work Results Can Tell Us a Lot About Your Dog’s Health

A dog blood test can tell us a lot of things about Fido’s health. It can help your veterinarian catch a life-threatening illness at its early stages. Once you have a diagnosis, you can start treating it. The chances of Fido getting cured are much, much higher when you detect the problem early on.

For instance, your vet will be able to tell that Fido has heartworm disease. They will also be able to tell if your pup suffers from severe liver disease or even kidney failure. All this with just a few drops of blood. Isn’t it amazing?

On top of a dog blood test, your vet could also ask for urine samples (for a urinalysis) or a fecal exam. They’re worth the investment, as they could ensure Fido lives to be a happy elderly dog.

vet drawing blood from golden retriever puppy

Let’s Get Technical: How Blood Tests Work

There isn’t just one type of dog blood test. Each blood work looks at different things. Despite that, all tests are done in the same way.

First, the veterinarian shaves a small patch of Fido’s fur. They do this so that they can clearly see the blood vessels. Then, they clean the area with an antiseptic wipe or solution. Lastly, they use a small needle to withdraw the blood. Luckily, nothing in this process will hurt Fido. It will only feel like a little scratch!

How Do Vets Perform Dog Blood Tests?

Doing blood work on a dog is no easier than on a human. There are so many things to monitor and analyze! That’s why you’ll find your vet recommending more than one kind of dog blood test. They will carefully look for something different in each.

First, there is the complete blood count (CBD). This is the most comprehensive blood work test your vet will order. It tells them how many white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets exist in your dog’s body. Knowing the red blood cell count can tell you if your pooch has anemia, for instance. You’ll also learn if Fido has an infection, inflammation, or even a blood-clotting disability.

Then, there are also blood chemistry tests. Those will look at your dog’s blood glucose levels (or blood sugar levels), electrolytes, cholesterol, endocrine levels, and much more.

A blood urea nitrogen is also not uncommon, as it is crucial to learn more about your dog’s kidney function. The same can be said for alkaline phosphatase and total bilirubin tests. They tell you if Fido’s liver is working normally.

You also have the famous heartworm test, usually done once a year. It’s the best heartworm prevention strategy we know of today.

The Diagnosis: 6 Things Vets Can Test for with Dog Blood Tests

Say you got Fido’s dog blood test back. What will they tell you? And should you be worried? Let’s look at the most common diagnosis vets make based on blood work.

vet taking blood sample from dog

Addison’s Disease

If your dog has been lethargic and shaky lately, they could have this illness. It’s a hormonal disorder that has no cure but can be managed. Your vet will tell if Fido has it from their levels of electrolytes, chloride, sodium, potassium, and cortisol.

Liver Damage

The liver is one of the most important organs in your dog’s body. It filters the blood and gets rid of toxins. Liver disease, which leads to liver damage, is a serious issue. Luckily, you can spot it with your pooch’s blood work.


When your dog doesn’t have a high count of red blood cells, they’re anemic. It makes it harder for your dog’s cells to get the oxygen they need to function properly. A complete blood count will flag this if your dog has it.

Kidney Failure

Much like the liver, kidneys filter the blood and shoo out toxins. Not having a working pair of kidneys could be fatal. When you get Fido’s blood test, your vet will tell you if everything is at a normal level. If not, they can address it quickly!


No pet parent wants to hear their pooch has heartworm. But sometimes, dogs do get it. It can be fatal, so it’s not a matter to take lightly. Fortunately, there’s a test specifically designed to detect that nasty parasite. Catching it early on and giving Fido the correct heartworm medication is their best shot at getting rid of it.

Diabetes Mellitus

Sadly, our furry companions can also get diabetes. Catching it at an early stage is crucial. A good diet and moderate exercise will improve your dog’s quality of life if they have diabetes.

vet looking at golden retrievers blood work

Should You Worry When Your Vet Recommends Doing a Blood Test?

If your vet orders a dog blood test, don’t be alarmed. They’re likely doing it as a precaution. Blood work is the number one disease prevention method. Sometimes, vets even order blood tests on puppies to know if they have any congenital problems. Take your four-legged friend to the clinic, have the tests done, and relax.

Blood tests for dogs can show lots of nasty diseases and problems. The important thing is knowing about them early on. The earlier you catch it, the more effective the treatment and medication will be.

Common Questions on Dog Blood Tests

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